FALLING FROM GRACE

A REHEARSED READING – WITH MUSIC BE THERE!

new ONE HASTINGS MANY VOICE1-page-001

 

EXTRACT:

FALLING FROM GRACE

A new play by

TOM O’BRIEN

 

Act one

Scene one

Enter   SHANE MacGOWAN singing IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD.  

If I should fall from grace with god
Where no doctor can relieve me
If I’m buried ‘neath the sod
But the angels won’t receive me

Let me go boys
Let me go boys
Let me go down in the mud
Where the rivers all run dry

SHANE:           Good evening ladies and gentlemen! I am sorry to announce that due to

unforeseen circumstances SHANE won’t be appearing here tonight.

Too much….(indicates drinking with his hand)   Oh yes.

pause

WHAT? Am I dead?  No, I don’t think so. Not yet, anyway.

But these days you never can  tell, can ya? Maybe I’m a hologram

VICTORIA CLARKE enters.

SHANE:         This is Victoria. She’s …she’s…ah…ah…       Kcch…We’re an item.  (pause)  Again. We have no children. Except me. (laughs ). Kcch…kcch…kcch.  I stole that line from Brendan Behan. He stole it from someone else I expect. Probably Paddy Kavanagh.

VICT:             That’s slander, Shane

SHANE;         He’s fucken dead. Ya can’t slander the dead, can you?  Anyway, I come to praise Caesar not bury him. He was one of the greatest Irish writers of my time. Or any time. Greater than Joyce or O’Casey anyway.

Well, maybe not Joyce. Joyce was a bloody genius, he invented a whole new language. Brendan stole a few lines from both of them here and there.  But where’s the harm in that? I did the same meself.  Kcch…kcch…kcch.   Did you hear about the time he arrived in Montreal and some reporter asked him what he was doing in Canada. ‘Well’, he said, ‘I kept reading all these ads saying drink Canada dry, so I thought I’d give it a try’. (laughs)                            Maybe I’m him. His reincarnation, like. We, the Pogues I mean, got our dress style from Brendan. Did ya notice the similarity?

VICT:             The slept-in-a-ditch last night look? Yeah, I see where you’re coming from there, sweet pea

SHANE:         Yeah, well we’ve all lain in the gutter in our time – and few of us were looking at the stars.

                                    (sings)  THE OLD TRIANGLE

A hungry feeling came o’er me stealing

And the mice were squealing in my prison cell

And the ould triangle went jingle jangle

All along the banks of the Royal Canal.

VICT:             Very funny, Shane.

She settles herself on a stool, slightly apart from Shane. During the action they sometimes interact with each other, other times they appear separate from each other, though they are aware of each other at all times.

VICT:             I was living in an Irish-speaking hell hole in West Cork when I first heard tell of Shane. He was a nobody when I met him

SHANE:         I was a fucken Punk. I was the Punk.

VICT              I was desperate to be a Punk myself, but living where I did I had to make do with a black bin liner and fishnet tights. In my local pub I became friendly with Spider Stacey, who played the tin whistle and sang a bit. One night he had Shane with him. He was very aggressive.

SHANE:         You should feel honoured. You were in the presence of greatness. The fledgling Pogues.  Kcch…kcch…kcch.  Anyway, I was fucken drunk, not aggressive…

VICT:             You were drunk and aggressive. And very arrogant, I thought. It was Spider’s birthday…

SHANE:         Well, go on then, buy him a drink. It’s his fucken birthday.

VICT:             You can fuck off for yourself, Shane O’Hooligan- or whatever you call yourself these days. (smiles sweetly) And that was how we met.

SHANE:         Wait a minute.  Arrogant…you said arrogant.

VICT:             Yeah, you were. You still bloody are. (pause) So it was love at first sight, was it?

SHANE:         Yeah, it was, like. Yeah.

VICT:             And what about all your other women?

SHANE:         Kcch…Kcch…Kcch…

SHANE sings VICTORIA (c Shane MacGowan 1994)

Down the dirty old streets
The Angel of the East is calling
And with a trembling hand
I open up a can
I can hear a baby bawling

Vicoria, you left me in opium euphoria
With a fat monk singing Gloria
My girl with green eyes

VICT:             I didn’t fall in love with you for years. I think I was twenty. I’d known you for ages then.

SHANE:         It only seemed that long. (laughs) Kcch…kcch…kcch

VICT:             Don’t you remember? It was my birthday. And somebody told you to kiss me.

SHANE:         It must have been God.  And did I ?

VICT:             (pushes him) ‘Course you did.  I was irresistible.

SHANE:         You still are.

VICT:             I know. And afterwards, on the way home in a taxi, we had an argument.

SHANE:         I remember that!  You were trying to tell me I knew fuck all about Sean Nos singing.  Just because you came from the back of beyond in pre-historic West Cork and I was a sophisticate from London…

VICT:             You came from Puckaun, and what do they know about anything in that hole!

SHANE:         They know about Sean Nos singing. And dancing. And playing music. All my people were musicians and singers. It was open house there every night.. Anyway, I come from Kent, not Puckaun. Tunbridge Wells. I was born there, like, but I’d never admit coming from there. I was born on Christmas day. Did ya know that?

VICT:             (sings)  Hark now hear the angels sing

SHANE:         Some Christmas present!  Kcch…kcch…kcch

VICT:             And then you kissed me goodnight. And I fell in love. (smiles sweetly) I moved in with you and your flat was disgusting. One room, red walls, black carpet and a mattress on the floor. Overflowing ashtrays and bottles everywhere.

SHANE:         And you tried to change everything.

VICT:             I tried to clean it up, yeah. Tried to clean you up. I’m still trying after all these years. (laughs) You still won’t have a bath.

SHANE:         I had one last year. Kcch…kcch…kcch

SHANE          You had five tellys – and none of them worked properly. Oh, and that crappy record player. What was that song you used to play all time? Van Morrison.  (she hums it)

SHANE:         Yeah, yeah. Astral Weeks. (he sings a few verses and Victoria joins in)

                        (ASTRAL WEEKS by Van Morrison © Caledonia Soul Music)
If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where mobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop

Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down in silence easy
To be born again, to be born again

VICT:             You played it right through the night once. I’d rather take a cheese-grater to my forehead for six hours now than do that again.

SHANE:         He’s a poet. Like Dylan and Springsteen. You gotta listen to the words. The words are everything. (pause) Nice bloke, Van

VICT:             Yeah.

SHANE:         Even if he is a fat fucker these days.

VICT:             Shane! He might call you a drunken fucker…these days.

SHANE:         I’m a drunken fucker most days.

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